Jin Shengtan was a 17th century Chinese writer who once found himself stranded with a friend in a temple for ten days because of a rainstorm. While thus secluded, the pair compiled a list of 33 of the truly happy moments in life. The resulting book was called Chin’s 33 Happy Moments. The wonderful thing about his moments is their lack of piety. Happiness is seen not as a constant state, but as an occasional surprise.
Here is Chin’s seventh happy moment:
To hear our children recite the classics so fluently, like the sound of water pouring from a vase.
Ah, is this not happiness?
Here is an Idler reader‘s happy moment haiku:
A Summer’s day
Steaming cow pats
Shrieks of children
Ah…is this not happiness? Gary Finch
Do you have a happy moment? Send your “ah, is this not happiness?” moment to us at email@example.com with the subject line: “ah!”